Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
Amazon US HC Amazon Canada HC
Michael Z. Lewin
S. Martin's, Oct 1999, $23.95, 272 pp.
Three generations of Lunghis participate in the smoothly running family detective agency. However, the oldest son Salvatore prefers painting over sleuthing. He only handles cases when he needs cash for his art supplies. The family also owns a series of adjoining buildings where they all live except for Salvatore The Lunghis supplement their income by collecting rent from the street level shops that line their buildings.
Angelo and Gina work on a case in which a client is being threatened by beepers. Salvatore is involved in a murder investigation. Angelo stops a gang of teens from extorting money from a store owner. As the cases move forward, entrepreneurial relationships among the family members deteriorate. Angel and Gino's adolescent children are in trouble and Mama wants to open a restaurant while the Old Man objects. Another child dates an undertaker who enjoys line dancing.
FAMILY PLANNING is a difficult tale to read because there are too many characters and subplots competing with one another. The abrupt transition from one family member to another detracts the reader from the plot. Michael Z. Lewin has a clever concept, but tries to introduce too many of the players and their personalities in a single tale. Future novels hopefully will provide the reader with one family member's story at a time.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner